It's possible they swarmed, but unlikely since there are so many bees. We also found several supercedure cells which are generally in the middle of a frame unlike the swarm cells which are generally at the bottom. The bees make those when they aren't happy with the work the queen is doing. At any rate, there were enough capped queen cells to divide the hive into four nukes. So we now have six hives and one laying queen. The bees cap the queen cells around day seven, and the queen emerges on day 15. She usually takes her maiden flight around day 20 if the weather cooperates and begins laying around day 24. So in two weeks at the latest we should have some laying queens in the nukes that had capped queen cells.
So here's the status.
In the upper yard we have Queen Madeleine (born 2016) and a queenless nuke. In the lower yard we have the queenless split we made two weeks ago and the three other nukes we made today which have queen cells but little or no brood. Since the cells were all capped it's likely those nukes will have laying queens in 2-3 weeks. We'll feed all the nukes today and give them some pollen. Then we'll leave them alone for two weeks.
We made the split on March 29th, so that hive had to raise a queens from scratch. So by the end of April there should be a laying queen in that hive as well. We'll plan to check that hive around the 25th of April.
We'll check Queen Madeleine in a few days to see what she's up to and if she needs another box. At present she has two. So our status is:
Upper Bee Yard:
2-box hive with Queen Madeleine, from split on March 29Lower Bee Yard:
1-box nuke made today from Queen Rachel's hive -- fed today 1/2 gal. syrup and pollen
2-box split from Queen Madeleine, had to raise new queen from egg cell -- fed yesterdaySo there we are. Guess we needed all that new equipment after all. We didn't even have time to paint the bottom boards. But the way things go, we'll likely get a chance sometime during the season.
1-box nuke with queen cell -- fed 1/2 gal. syrup and pollen patty today
1-box nuke with queen cell -- ditto
Rachel with queen -- ditto